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Sure, caressing a clean-shaven face is appealing to some women, but at a certain point in your life, you want to show off what those follicles can do—and give her something she can really stroke. But do you go for Bradley Cooper’s barely-there stubble or Ryan Gosling’s impressive ‘stache/beard combo?
Truth is, not every facial hair style will work on every face (sorry, guys). But that’s why we talked to Master Barber Buck Dutton of The Art of Shaving and John Scala, CEO and founder of the New York Shaving Company, to find famous whiskers that’ll work for you.
Click through to find out which stars sport the best bristle—and get foolproof tips for achieving their looks at home.
1. Ryan Gosling
If Ron Jeremy were just kicking off his illustrious skin flick career now, this is the facial hair he’d sport. Mr. Gosling’s Porn Star look, of a heavy mustache and wispy chin whiskers, is the modern twist on the ‘stache-only styles of the ‘70s.
Works for: Straight, fine hair (even if it grows in patches) on an oblong-shaped or rectangular face with a rounded chin.
How to get it: Just let it grow. Invest in a pair of mustache scissors ($18; drugstore.com) to neatly shape the upper-lip hair and trim your beard, but don’t comb it—the wispiness comes from keeping it au naturel. (Also: Remember to keep your face clean to look handsome, not homeless.)
2. Jake Gyllenhaal
Nothing says masculine like the Mountain Man, which combines a full ‘stache with a thick beard that stops before it gets too ZZ Top. Bonus: Women suspect that a guy who can grow that much facial hair is packing elsewhere. (Why else would countless rock stars opt for it?)
Works for: A round jawline and hairline with straight, coarse hair. But the key is knowing your whiskers will fill every spot of skin.
How to get it: Let it do its own thing for a while, but get some mustache scissors to keep the ‘stache neat. Trim your beard when it hits the desired length—and every two to three weeks thereafter—and shampoo with lime oil soap two to three times a week as well.
3. Bradley Cooper
You’ve probably seen the Touch of Scruff on all manner of celebrities. You know why? Because it’s shipshape without looking like it takes much effort (but it kind of does).
Works for: oval, symmetrical faces with straight, coarse hair that grows in full.
How to get it: Go over your face with a beard and hair trimmer every day to keep it fresh. If your hair doesn’t grow in as thick as Bradley’s, it may not look so hot—but it’s still worth a try.
4. Hugh Jackman
Going gray? Use it to your advantage. Silvery chin hairs in a carefully maintained goatee, even surrounded by scruff as in this Aussie’s case, are the ticket to looking like a Distinguished Gentleman.
Works for: A pear-shaped face (narrow forehead and broad jawline) with coarse hair that’s straight or curly.
How to get it: You’ll need a lot of time and patience for this. Pick up a beard and hair trimmer with many adjustable length settings (Scala recommends Andis’s Trendsetter), and use it daily—or at least every other day. In a week off from work, test out where your grays show. If they’re not as perfectly centered in the beard as Hugh’s are, dye it all into tones of gray, platinum, and silver, or color the not-totally-gray hairs in a complementary dark-brown or ebony shade.
5. Channing Tatum
Ah, the Skinny Goatee, the preferred look of the “bad boy” in every boy band. (C’mon! Don’t let that turn you off.) Thin, vertical stripes of hair connect a meticulously clipped mustache to its beard counterpart down below with the slightest hint of a soul patch for added mystery.
Works for: Fuller faces, like a square-shaped one with a broad forehead, cheekbones, and jawline, that grow straight, coarse hair.
How to get it: With a beard and hair trimmer, trim the goatee area down first. Then, use a good blade (and good shaving techniques) to outline the goatee before shaving the rest of your face. Go slowly to create those even lines…and to avoid having to start over completely.
6. Nick Cannon
Letting your hair grow in stripes gives each part of your face its own personality. A thin, immaculate mustache (and the bare skin all around it) says, “I give a damn,” while the wilder soul patch and beard say, “Maybe I don’t.” We like to call this look the Smooth Operator.
Works for: An oval, symmetrical face with curly hair that’s capable of being tamed.
How to get it: Again, a sharp blade and a trustworthy beard-and-hair trimmer are essential. The mustache will need daily attention, but even the scraggly parts below the mouth need weekly upkeep to minimize unruliness.
7. Chris Hemsworth
This look proves you can give facial hair room to grow without compromising office-appropriateness (or your luck with the ladies). The secret: Straight-Edged Scruff on each cheek and a bare neck.
Works for: Someone who can grow a full beard of straight hair, which can be fine or coarse. It looks best on rectangular and oblong-shaped faces with rounded chins.
How to get it: Let your hair grow out, and then trim it once you’re happy with the length. Pay close attention as you shave a crisp line at the neck. As for maintenance, keeping those crisp lines clean is key for this look. So use mustache scissors to keep the upper-lip area neat and shave your neck below that defined line daily.
8. Zac Efron
A barer chin highlights a prominent soul patch, the centerpiece of the Beard-and-Mustache Mash-Up. And speaking of that ‘stache, it hangs down below the corners of the mouth, coming tantalizingly close to the beard without touching it. Looks surprisingly sharp, no?
Works for: Just about any kind of hair—curly, straight, fine, or coarse—can get groomed into this style, which looks better on fuller faces with rounded jaws.
How to get it: Define the mustache and soul patch—Scala suggets using Merkur’s Mustache/Eyebrow Razor to get in those hard-to-reach areas—and maintain the look with a solid beard and hair trimmer.
9. James Franco
What separates this Contemporary ‘Stache from its disco-era counterparts is the septum-wide space breaking the thick lines of whiskers into two. Chin stubble keeps the look from being too Tom Selleck stark. The one thing you must have to pull it off? A sense of humor.
Works for: Oval, symmetrical faces with straight, coarse hair.
How to get it: You’ve got to commit to shaving every day, but at least you can avoid the upper lip region. Well, except the hairless spot in the center. After using pre-shave oil and shaving cream, get in there safely by stretching your skin and shaving with a single-bladed razor.
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